County Says No To Byron

January 4, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Byron Township will have to do without a share of property taxes owed to Kent County as a source of funding for its Downtown Development Authority, as county commissioners chose to exempt the county from any tax capture within that district.

“This isn’t to say that we approve or not,” said David Morren, commission chairman, of the township’s newly formed development authority.

“This is consistent with what we’re doing,” added Commissioner Jack Horton.

The county’s Fiscal Services Department reported that the county loses $1.8 million each year in property-tax revenue to 28 groups throughout the county that have the ability to capture a portion of property taxes within their specific districts.

Commissioner Dan Koorndyke said that when abatements and other tax incentives are added into the mix, the county loses about $4 million from its general fund each year.

“This is undermining county government, and we need to opt out of it,” said Koorndyke before the vote.

State law allows commissioners to exempt the county from the tax capture, and the Kent board did so unanimously. The next step is for the county to notify Byron Township that it has taken this action.

The township’s development district includes properties on 84th Street from Burlingame on the east to Woodhaven on the west, and on Byron Center Avenue from 76th Street on the north almost to 88th Street on the south. The new district contains about 3 percent of the total taxable value in the township.

County Fiscal Services Director Robert White told commissioners that the county hadn’t received notification from the township on how much tax would be captured from Kent and what public improvements those dollars would fund.    

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